Dear Reader, I must inform you that we had a Cat-astrophe this week. It was quite a dramatic and emotional event, but I’m happy to report that we have emerged all the better for it. So let me tell you this “tail”.
It started out as a normal evening, even an adorable and cuddly evening. All the animals had snuggled in and were cuddling with each other and with us. As is our evening routine, we eventually headed up to bed. On the way up the cats get fed. I gave them their wet food, I believe it was a turkey and cheese night, and set about filling their dry food. We had a new bag so I put the extra in the storage bin. I started to put the bin back on the top shelf, and that’s when it happened.
Being the Klutz that I am (my childhood nickname was tumble weed), I dropped the bin before it made it on the shelf. It just so happens that the cats were eating just below the shelf, and the bin landed on them.
Before I could tell what was happening, they both took off like a cat out of hell and headed down the stairs. The next thing I know the most awful wailing sounds where coming from downstairs. I hurried downstairs expecting to just see some upset cats cowering somewhere. Instead I found them wailing, hissing and eventually going after each other viciously. I couldn’t even compute what was happening.
After watching, completely aghast, for a moment, we decided that we should separate them because they seemed to be after blood. One went in the living room and one in the bathroom. We took a momentary breather and wondered aloud what was going on. So we did what you do, and went to the internet.
It turns out that going through a traumatic event together can cause cats to turn on one another because they associate the other cat with the event. So now what? We have a cat in a bathroom and a cat in the living room and after a couple failed, scary attempts at early unification, it was clear that this was not going to resolve that evening. I first cried because I felt so bad about ruining a beautiful brother relationship, and then we made a plan for two litter boxes and to see where things stood in the morning. Everything’s better in the morning right?
Wrong….but we did have a plan now. Things we read said that this could last days or weeks, but to slowly start to allow them to smell each other and to feed them within smelling distance. Lucky for us, we weirdly have a glass door that we can shut into our living room. So through the hissing and angry calls from both cats we allowed them to see each other through the door, and then put down some food for both of them. We also placed a call to the vet to make sure we were doing the right thing. The wonderful vet tech confirmed that we were indeed doing the right thing, but did warn that it could take awhile. Cats, apparently, are very good at holding grudges. Oh jeez, we were sure we were in for the long haul.
I want to take a moment to let you know that I did try to reason with the boys. I pointed out numerous times that it was my fault they went through this. I also tried to help them understand that one bad incident is not worth ruining their loving relationship over. They were not having any of it.
So we left for work hoping that time, sight, and smell would work miracles and that we would come home from work to one happy household. When I got home from work I tentatively went to the door to see how they were. I started by opening the door a smidge, which brought about some hissing but not nearly as bad as before. I was smart enough to bring some treats with me. I started feeding some to Charlie in the room and shoving some to Jack under the door. It was pretty comical. I also left the door open just a smidge so they could smell each other. Things went fine until I stopped the treats and then Charlie hissed. I could see that he was the one holding the grudge here. Jack had not hissed since the night before and was even doing adorable cat things in front of Charlie to make things better.
I now had hope that maybe this ordeal would just be a few days and not weeks. That evening we continued as normally as you can when you have cats living separate lives. Then came dinner time. I brought down their bowls and food and put a bowl on each side. I left the door open a smidge, so they could sniff each other. I thought to myself “Just a couple more days of this.” Once they were finished I let them sniff each other and Charlie didn’t hiss, but did kind of swat through the door. I was just about to close the door when my foot slipped (remember the klutz thing). Now they could get at each other completely…what would happen…would we have to start all over?
Well Charlie strolled out of the room and walked with his head held high, right past Jack. It was as though he determined the best way to deal with this was to snub him. And that was it. A little more nervousness on our part, as we adjusted, but there has been no more hissing, no scary fights, and no more separation. To us, they do seem to cuddle a little less but that has seemed to pick back up in the last few days.
As all of this was happening I did have some thoughts along the way. First, “OMG, this is too much drama”! Then I thought that we humans can do the same things to one another. Sometimes, when we go through bad things we do lash out at the people we love the most. I also gave a lot of thought to the holding on to grudges. It’s definitely something I’m trying to work on within myself. It’s sometimes so easy to hold onto that hurt and not forgive. My fluffy boys have taught me that perhaps some time and a meal shared within smelling distance can help with forgiveness, or perhaps this is just a funny story to help me remember to watch what I’m doing.
Either way, these adorable creatures of Marsh Farm sure do keep us on our toes.